So, you live in a town or city which is accepting, exciting, full of activism, equality, independent businesses and creativity. The city is full of different languages, cultures and there is a pretty decent LGBTQ+ community who either reside here or are very much welcomed. This sounds pretty ideal right? However, as with most things, we must reflect on our environment and recognise our privilege. On a VERY basic level, here are some points I would like address and bring to attention:
- Even though the LGBTQ+ community are celebrated, some CIS people are still very much problematic. They may think that living in a city (like Brighton) excuses them from possibly being homophobic in any form, yet they may still joke, hold prejudices and stereotypes towards this community without realising the consequences or that they still hold homophobic ideas and thoughts.
- An array of cultures in a small area, unfortunately brings White people who think they are very liberal and ‘cultured.’ Walking the streets of Brighton, you will so often see White people with dreadlocks, bindis and clothing and accessories from other cultures that does not belong to them. Cultural appropriation occurs so often here. Even in the market and street stalls, White people will be selling items from different cultures. Stealing elements, religious pieces and significant items from other cultures’ and making it into a fashion statement (when they will never face the racism that POC have to deal with when they wear these items) just screams White Privilege.
In addition to this,even though there are a vast variety of cultures and races who live here, it is still very much a middle class area. Let’s just say that a lot of POC who do live and work here, most likely won’t be living in the old Victorian houses with pretty balconies that overlook the sea.
- Due to more people wanting to come to an inviting and liberal city, means property prices increase and that landlords or landladys will over charge a pretty ridiculous amount for a rented property (no matter the size) and will often do the bare minimum to care for its tenants.
While property prices move closer to London prices, The Minimum Wage still remains the same and does not increase in the rate it should to level with increasing living and rent costs. The amount of people who are turning to living on the streets due to increasing rent prices, lack of jobs and poor mental health care and support is ever increasing. Tourism money seems to be going back to the city, to improve the attractions rather than helping the people who live here.
- One for the vegans.. Usually in a more liberal city (in ANY country) comes a bigger amount of vegan eateries. Although it is fantastic that omni places are recognising the demand and are offering vegan dishes, it is taking away business from small vegan start ups, people who hold the compassion and energy to build a 100% cruelty free and a more environmental friendly business. So many vegan businesses will stay at a ‘stall’ or ‘street food’ level and owners and staff may have to work multiple jobs to earn a living, just because they cannot afford the rent of a permanent property to fully expand their business for their sole income. Some vegan restaurants and cafes who have had a permanent location for years are closing because they cannot afford the increasing rent prices, and some big chain will come and take their place.
Another issue that comes with an increasing middle class area is that what was once a very independent city- A Green MP, a city of artists and creatives and MANY independent stores- is that this is slowly being taken away. Big chains and organisations are taking over, forcing artists out of the city as they can no longer afford to live here and so many independent business (shops, restaurants, cafes etc) are being forced to close down due to increasing rent and taxes. Due to cost of living, people are getting worried and now may turn to other more central and right wing political parties. What once drew in a wide mix of people is now being pushed back in their faces.
These are very basic and very few points. What are your thoughts and what points do you think it is important to discuss?